State Auditor David Vaudt says the Iowa Department of Agriculture is failing to adequately inspect all gasoline pumps in the state, as required by Iowa Code. “What consumers might think what is happening on an annual basis and what the code requires, isn’t taking place,” Vaudt told Radio Iowa.
Vaudt released a report today examining the Ag Department’s fuel pump inspection program. The audit shows, between fiscal years 2006 and 2009, the department inspected between 60 and 70% of the state’s 36,000 retail pumps.
In addition, the reports reviewed for 2009 found 42 percent of the inspections did not document tests for ethanol content and 48 percent did not document octane rating tests. “We found some areas where consumers will obviously have some concerns,” Vaudt said. The Ag Department blames a lack of sufficient staff and funding.
Vaudt says retailers help cover the cost of the inspection program by paying a $9 per pump fee on an annual basis. That fee is reduced to $4.50 if paid before July 31. “(The program) has only been collecting about $225,000 in fees but the program costs about $635,000 to carry out,” Vaudt said.
“So, the fees are only covering about 35 percent of this program and I think the legislature needs to decide if the fees need to cover the cost of the program or if an appropriation is going to cover the difference.”
The audit shows the Ag Department’s Weights and Measures Bureau had just five inspectors on staff in mid-2010 to inspect all of the state’s retail fuel pumps.
See the full report here: auditor.iowa.gov/specials/1060-0090-B0P2.pdf